norton records - The I-94 Bar

Oh, Canada! Fleshtones are still Bigger and Better than we'll ever be

fleshtones miriam daveThe Fleshtones joined by Miriam Linna (and Dave Champion at right of stage) . Photo: LePetitRusse

The “Wheel of Talent” was spinning in northern Ontario, Canada, baby. Oh yeah!

I very rarely open the newsletters and catalogs I get from various labels and bands but for some reason I was drawn to this month’s from Norton Records.

What do I see but that the mighty Fleshtones are playing two hours from home. And Sudbury hometown girl, Miriam Linna (head honcho at Norton Records, ex-Cramps drummer and solo artist in her own right), was going to be joining them. On stage. So, yeah, I had to go.

R.I.P. Billy Miller of Norton Records

billy roy miriam

Billy Miller (left) with ex Flamin Groovies frontman Roy Loney and Miriam Linna.

Co-owner of legendary label Norton Records and former member of the A-Bones, Billy Miller, has passed away after battling long-term health complications.

Miller founded the label with his future wife Miriam Lina (a former Cramps drummer) in 1986, originally to issue the music of Hasil Adkins.

Hundreds of releases followed for bands as diverse as The Wailers, The Sonics, The Dictators, Reigning Sound, Esquerita, Ramones, the Pretty Things, the Flamin' Groovies, the Alarm Clocks, Question Mark and the Mysterians, Dale Hawkins, Andre Williams, Jack Starr, the Flat Duo Jets, the Untamed Youth, the Phantom Surfers, the Hentchmen, Wade Curtiss, Jackie & the Cedrics, the Church Keys, and Iggy Pop’s alma mater, The Iguanas.

Miller had lost a leg to complications from diabetes a year ago. He had been back in hospital in recent months.

Subway Zydeco - Broadway Lafayette (Hound Gawd Records)

broadway layfayetteDetroit boy and founder of The Gories, Mick Collins, always did love to fuck with expectations in The Dirtbombs. Now, he's doing it again with some new playmates in Heavy Trash's Matt Verta-Ray, Matt's wife Rocio, and members of Swiss creole kings Mama Rosin.

"Subway Zydeco" sounds like it was cooked up in the kitchen of a cajun restaurant in the East Village, with a liberal sprinkling of blues. You can bet a New York minute against a free ride in a checker cab that this was exactly the intention. It's an LP of obscure 45s taken off a Louisiana jukebox and transplanted to a New York City dive bar.

If you came expecting a Blues Explosion - Jon Spencer co-founded Heavy Trash with Matt Verta-Ray - you're in the wrong place. "Subway Zydeco" is more folky than swampy, its pumping rhythms tied to accordion for most of the way.